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World Epilepsy Week - 2007

People still don't know much about epilepsy. A lot of stigma is attached to it, especially when it involves children. But I've always tried to put children at ease , because their parents have told them that it was the same with Jonty.

These are noble and brave words from one of the most famous epileptics in sporting history- Jonty Rhodes. Also known as the Flying Machine for his unchallenged fielding prowess, South African cricketer Rhodes who suffered epilepsy as a kid, has always lent his celebrity status in support of the cause of epilepsy.

This year, World Epilepsy Week will be observed during June 17 to June 23, in many nations, with Epilepsy Day falling on 21 June.

Epilepsy, a brain disorder with many possible causes, is characterized by a series of seizures, which can catch the sufferer unaware at any moment. In epilepsy, also known as falling sickness, the normal pattern of neuronal activity (of the nerve cells in the brain) becomes disturbed. This causes strange sensations, emotions, and behavior or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. In ancient times, epileptic fits marked by violent spasms and foaming at the mouth, were considered manifestations of the evil spirits possessed by the sufferer.

Incidence: Globally, 40 to 50 million people have epilepsy, including nearly 3 million in the United States. Nearly three-quarters of the affected - mostly those with epilepsy in non-industrialized nations - receive no treatment whatsoever for their seizures. Throughout the world, misunderstanding, fear and ill-informed public attitudes toward this common medical condition contribute to widespread discrimination, isolation and social rejection of people with epilepsy.

Treatment: According to health specialists, it is always advisable to begin treatment for epilepsy as soon as it is diagnosed. For about 80 percent of
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